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Depression is a mental disorder that causes low moods and general disinterest in activities. According to a new study by psychiatric scientists, depression can affect more than the mood and might even be responsible for some visual perception changes.

The study, conducted by psychology and psychiatry researchers at the University of Helsinki, found that visual perception is altered in people who suffer from depression. This difference in visual perception was largely attributed to information processing problems in the cerebral cortex.

The study participants were grouped into two: those who were clinically diagnosed with depression and those who weren’t. The two groups were then tested on their perception of two patterned images.

Interestingly, the group participants who suffered from depression perceived the images to be brighter and hence have more contrast in the patterns. The suppression of brightness for participants without depression was about 20%, while that of those with depression was roughly 5%.

What this means

This does not mean that depression affects eyesight per se, but it does affect the brain’s ability to interpret images. The study emphasizes more research on the usability of these findings in mental health research.

It is, however, important to note that visual tests cannot be used to diagnose depression. However, the tests can gauge between levels of depression, with patients suffering from higher levels having more visual perception problems and those with lower levels having a more accurate perception.

How to manage depression

Since depression is a manageable mental disorder, it is important to know how to manage it, not just for better mental health but also for better visual perception. Let’s look at some of the things you can do to prevent or manage depression.

  • Exercise: Regular workout is both good for your body and your mental health
  • Diet: A healthy diet and regular hydration is good for your blood pressure and consequently your mental health.
  • Getting enough sleep: Giving your brain enough rest is the best way to control depression.